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4 posts from January 2016

January 28, 2016

Making Senior Housing Policy LGBT Friendly

SAGE and Enterprise Community Partners presents this introductory Fair Housing Webinar around LGBT issues. An expert panel introduces topics such as: What are the current protections for individuals with respect to sexual orientation and gender identity in housing? What are some real life experiences of LGBT older adults who have faced housing discrimination? What recourse do LGBT older adults currently have if they face discrimination? And what new policy changes and protections may be coming down the pike? Click here for a PDF of all of the slides of the presentation or click below to watch the webinar! The next one is in April, so stay tuned by signing up for housing updates.

Lgbtseniorwebinar

Panelists include:

  • Cheryl Gladstone, Senior Program Director, Enterprise Community Partners
  • Aaron Tax, Director of Federal Government Relations, SAGE
  • Kate Scott, Director of Fair Housing, Equal Rights Center
  • Karen Loewy, Senior Attorney, Lambda Legal
January 27, 2016

Rage Against the Dying of the Light: Aging from Diverse Perspectives

IMG_4259
Vega Subramaniam shares her story on caregiving.

SAGE was proud to be presenting on a panel with our partners in the Diverse Elders Coalition at Creating Change, taking place last week in Chicago. The panel entitled, “Rage Against the Dying of the Light: Aging from Diverse Perspectives,” discussed the specific needs that diverse elders have as they age and whether current programs, services, supports, and laws allow us to meet the needs of these growing and intersecting populations. It delved into a variety of “isms” and phobias, from racism and ageism to transphobia and biphobia. And it explored what we can do at the federal, state, and local levels to address the myriad challenges and opportunities diverse aging presents.

 

As SAGE’s point person on federal affairs, I talked about what the federal government can do to address the unique challenges faced by LGBT older adults. As a population that faces pronounced social isolation, higher poverty rates than their non-LGBT counterparts, and at the same time, diminished access to culturally competent services, supports, and healthcare, our federal government can and should do more. It has the tools to address the chasm that exists between the greater need and the lower likelihood of this population accessing the critical services and supports they need to remain independent.

What can be done? As Congress works to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA), it can include language proposed by Senator Michael Bennet and Representative Patrick Murphy that would target LGBT older adults for services and supports and hold the aging network accountable for reaching them – all by designating LGBT older adults a group of “Greatest Social Need.” Read more about our recommendations on updating the OAA via our latest policy report: Updating the Older Americans Act: Why Do LGBT Older Adults Need Support?

In the meantime, the Obama Administration can help as well. The Administration on Aging can require states to evaluate whether they are meeting the needs of LGBT older adults in their communities – and if they find they are not – require the states to report back on how they will meet the needs of LGBT older adults in their communities.

Many thanks to Ben de Guzman, Diverse Elders Coalition; Maria Glover-Wallace, Affinity Community Services; Vega Subramaniam, Vega Mala Consulting for sharing their stories and viewpoints. This esteemed panel discussed both the challenges facing LGBT older adults and their counterparts and what we all can do – from Congress and the Obama Administration to activists in communities across the country – to ensure that all older adults get the services and supports they need to age with dignity. 

 

January 19, 2016

Join SAGE at Creating Change!

SAGE at Creating Change
It's that time of year again! CREATING CHANGE! Creating Change is an annual gathering of organizers and activists working to create a world in which sexual orientations and gender expressions will be welcomed and celebrated. SAGE will be there representing and advocating for LGBT older adults and providing a series of workshops, trainings and a safe space for our elders to be celebrated.

Here's the aging track at a glance! Don't forget about the Accessibility Hospitality Suite located in Room 1203 and the Elder Hospitality Suite in Room 2079! 

Elder Hospitality Suite, Room 2079
Thursday  8am-8pm Friday & Saturday  8am-10pm
Stop by for refreshment, relaxation, networking, and conversation! There will also be opportunities to record and share your own stories.

Meals available daily (times are approximate):
Breakfast 8:00am Lunch 12:00pm Dinner 5:30pm

Special Programming:
Thurs 6:00 -7:00pm—Senior Voice: Constituent Advocacy Group from Center on Halsted
Fri 12:15-1:15pm—LGBTQ in Chicago: A Historical Perspective with John D’Emilio
Fri 6:00-8:00pm— Cross Generational Storytelling Program in Youth Suite
Sat 6:00-7:00pm— National Landscape Snapshot with Serena Worthington, SAGE and Troy Johnson, Center on Halsted

THURSDAY, JANUARY 21

LGBT Elder and Ally Advocacy and Movement Building: Towards Equal Treatment for All
9:00am-6:30pm Lake Huron, 8th Floor
This Institute convenes LGBT people and their allies to learn how to 1) tell a powerful story 2) capture stories in the field and 3) learn how stories are used to tackle issues of primary importance to LGBT elders across the country. The day opens with stories from LGBT activists, including members of SAGE Center on Halsted’s noted Senior Voice program and also features a series of skill building workshops focused on storytelling fundamentals taught by Christa Orth, a storyteller from Brooklyn, New York. The second half of the day focuses on storytelling models including OUTSpoken!, a monthly live event in Chicago that features LBGTQ storytelling.

Our afternoon workshops consist of technical training on capturing stories using video via smartphones video and audio interviews using the StoryCorps model. The day will culminate in the capturing of individual stories. LGBT older adults, staff and constituents of aging service agencies, LGBT and social justice organizations, and students are encouraged to attend. All are welcome!
Hosted by Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) and  facilitated by Serena Worthington, Director of National Field Initiatives, SAGE

FRIDAY, JANUARY 22

Building Age Inclusive LGBT Centers and Services
Workshop 19:00am–10:30am Williford B, 3rd Floor
LGBT older adults are often overlooked by the LGBT community. We know from both research and anecdotal evidence that LGBT older adults often do not feel welcome or comfortable accessing LGBT services, community centers, and programming. This is a critically underserved population that is often quite isolated. Many LGBT organizations have enhanced their efforts at creating outreach and programming that will help bring in LGBT older adults. This presentation will highlight a new guide from the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging and give participants concrete suggestions for reaching LGBT older adults.
Presenters: Tim Johnston, SAGE; Terri Clark, ActionAIDS

Challenging Ageism
Workshop 2 10:45am–12:15pm Room 4A, 4th Floor
Ageism is not spoken about, understood, addressed, or acted upon in very many places despite all the publicity about how the US population is “growing older.” Old people are ignored, ridiculed, patronized, and told they should look young, act young, think young, etc. Young women especially start worrying about looking old in their 20s, something indicated on many birthday cards. For the health and wellbeing of all, especially old people, we need to learn how to recognize it at many ages and practice challenging it. Lesbians over 60 from Old Lesbians Organizing for Change will share information, tell personal stories, and circulate ads and birthday cards that illustrate how ageism works. We will ask attendees for stories and examples of how they can respond to these. The group will do role plays to practice challenging ageism.
Presenters:  Jan Griesinger and Ali Marrero-Calderon, Old Lesbians Organizing for Change

 SAGE Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues Honoring Katherine Acey
Presented by SAGE CEO Michael Adams 
Plenary Session: State of the Movement
1:30pm–2:45pm  •  International Ballroom

SATURDAY, JANUARY 23
Longing for Home: Safe & Affordable Elder Housing
Workshop 59:00am–10:30am PDR 2, 3rd Floor
One of the biggest issues facing many LGBT older adults is finding safe, affordable housing in cities across the country.  Due to higher levels of financial insecurity and a general lack    of affordable housing, many LGBT elders find that they cannot afford homes in the communities they may have lived in for years. Others face harassment and intimidation in their homes and in long-term care settings from aging professionals, other residents, and even their own family members. In recent years, LGBT aging advocates have begun addressing these housing insecurities through a variety of approaches including: expanding programs and services; training providers; changing policy; and educating consumers. Join us for a conversation about how these approaches are being implemented nation-wide.
Presenters: Serena Worthington, SAGE; Britta Larson, Center on Halsted; Tripp Mills, Los Angeles LGBT Center

Rage Against the Dying of the Light: LGBT Aging Diverse Perspectives
Workshop 6 10:45am–12:15pm PDR 2, 3rd Floor
What are the unique needs that LGBT people of color face as they get older? Are programs, services, policies, and laws meeting those needs? This discussion will identify some of the resources for LGBT elders of color, and will allow participants to think about the intersecting impacts of ageism, racism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. Presenters will facilitate a discussion with national perspectives and local solutions.
Presenters: Ben de Guzman, Diverse Elders Coalition; Maria Glover-Wallace, Affinity Community Services; Vega Subramaniam, Vega Mala Consulting; Aaron Tax, SAGE; Serena Worthington, SAGE

OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change) Caucus
Caucus 2 6:30pm–7:30pm PDR 4, 3rd Floor
OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change) Caucus will help attendees become familiar with the Organization of Old Lesbians and the lives of Old Lesbians. Attendees will discuss their own communities and the need for Old Lesbian activism, community building, and education about ageism and the intersection with other oppressions. Attendees will also leave with information on how to start a group or chapter in their own geographic area.
Presenters: Ruth Debra, Sally Tatnall, Jan Griesinger and Bonnie Wagner from Old Lesbians Organizing for Change

Queer People of Color Elders Caucus
Caucus 2 6:30pm–7:30pm Room 4E, 4th Floor
For the first time in U.S. history, there is a critical mass of out, activist queer people of color who are approaching retirement age. Our generation is the open-faced-sandwich generation, caring for elder parents, but not necessarily having children to care for us. Let’s start sharing our questions and struggles, and start planning together. This caucus is a venue for us to address questions such as: How will we ensure that service providers are culturally competent? Who will make decisions about our care, death, and funeral? In our QPOC social movements, how do we create intergenerational spaces and pass on institutional knowledge? What legacy do we want to leave?
Presenters: Vega Subramaniam, Vega Mala Consulting; Ben de Guzman, Diverse Elders Coalition; Maria Glover-Wallace, Affinity Community Services


LGBT Elders 50+ and Allies Dance

9:00pm-Midnight Continental  A&B, Lobby Level
Join DJ OCD who will be blending and mixing Chicago House, Spanish and Latino tunes for us to boogie down to, shake a tail feather at and party all night with. This annual event is free and open to people of all ages, races, faith traditions, sexual orientations and gender identities. All Welcome! Sponsored by AARP.

 

January 11, 2016

The Secret to a Long Life

When the New York Times asked for videos that capture the secrets that adults over 85 had for living a long life, SAGE jumped in to action to ensure that LGBT older adults were featured.  In this compilation by the Times, four of our constituents were featured.  

Starting at 1:13, Jerre Kalbas, 97, stated "hard work." Richard Morse, 90, said "Don't stop breathing. Don't kvetch and respect others for who they are." Joe Easter, 87, spoke of a passion for painting that "keeps him [me] going." Catherine Cumberbatch, 93 and pictured above, offered this: "Be aware of the pleasure that you get when you give something or do something for people that really need it."  

With Catherine's words in mind, we ask you to take three minutes to complete SAGE's Strategic Plan survey that will inform our work for years to come. We are soliciting input from all of our valued stakeholders and community members in order to bring LGBT elders from the margins to the middle. Allies and people under 50 are welcome, so please take the survey and share widely!